Yin Yoga, is a quiet yoga practice with long held poses structured to access your connective tissues, while healing both your physical and energetic body. The tissues accessed by yin yoga are responsible for 47% of your body's limited range of motion. By holding specific yoga asanas (poses) for 3-20 minutes, we can create ample space to allow rest and relaxation into our lives; while offering new depths of flexibility and quiet peaceful thoughts into our overthinking minds.
Practice these postures sequentially as listed above, allowing for 3-6 minutes in each pose. The postures that are suggested here can be held for less time if needed. Be certain to honor your practice, and release sooner or change the angle of the pose if you begin to feel pain or sharp sensation arises. Get creative with how you navigate your experience, and be sure to give yourself at least 1-2 minutes between postures, especially when first practicing Yin. Static, muscular holds and even some slow, controlled dynamic movement are also appropriate ways to transition. It is normal to feel some fragility as you exit a posture, and that sensation may stay present for a minute or two. Finish your practice with Savasana for at least 5-10 minutes.
Caution: Not all yoga poses are suitable for everyone. Always consult your health care provider before practicing yoga or any other exercise program. The information provided in this blog is strictly for reference only and is not in any manner a substitute for medical advice.
As summer kicks in to high gear, more people begin to travel; but that doesn’t mean that you can’t practice yoga while travel. When we travel some of the first things to go are our daily routines, our eating habits and of course our yoga practice. We become so wrapped up in the excitement of adventure and the experiences that we often forget or don’t make the time to let it all sink in. Bringing your mat on your trip, making time connect to your breath and inner thoughts will allow you to go beyond your edge; to see your true self, where fear and judgement don’t exist, and balance is restored to your mind, body and soul.
Traveling allows you the space to learn more about yourself and the world around you, while yoga gives you the awareness to choose what to take and what to leave behind that which no longer serves your highest good.
We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us. ~ Anonymous
Here are 5 reasons to bring your yoga mat along with you when you travel:
Traveling is one of the many things people do for fun, excitement and the joy found in experiencing new things. Traveling encourages us to see the world from different points of view and helps us grow as individuals.
However, traveling can also be stressful. The planning, the long haul flights or not knowing what to expect upon arrival can leave us feeling tired and stressed before we reach our destination. Practicing yoga while you travel will not only relieve stress in these types of circumstances through mindful breathing and stretching, it will also boost immunity, relieve tension, balance internal systems such as the lymphatic system and regulate hormones. All of which will lead to a much more enjoyable trip.
If you are traveling with your significant other, family, or a group, yoga is the perfect opportunity to take a moment out for yourself and connect back to your body. This doesn’t mean you have to take hours out of the day to do this; a quick asana practice followed by a few minutes of meditation can have you feeling energized and ready to recommit with renewed optimism and enthusiasm.
Connect with Nature
There is something to be said for taking your shoes off and feeling the earth beneath your feet, or sitting at the ocean listening to the waves. One of the best things about traveling abroad with your yoga mat is the ability to choose an outdoor setting for your practice. Remote areas can offer cool soil, the ocean and beaches with soft sand and amazing views; where you can see the sun touch the edge of world. What a wonderful way to practice in places like these where you can feel one with The Divine.
Be Present and Grateful
Sometimes it’s hard to be present while traveling. The new environment can have you on a natural high with so many places to visit and things to see and do; it’s easy to get swept away.
Yoga teaches us to appreciate the moments that shape our lives. It teaches us to take nothing for granted, to see beyond what our eyes are seeing, to actually feel what our hearts are needing. If we use our yoga in this way, we can breathe new life into our surroundings, we can find pleasure in things we take for granted and accept everyone for the value they bring to our lives.
Sometimes traveling can be scary; traveling off to unknown places, we don’t know what to expect. Yoga offers the ability to calm our mind through breathing and become truly aware of new surroundings like never before. Taking time out to step on our yoga mat during these times can allow us to see the path more clearly and take the road with less bumps along the way.
Practicing yoga and meditation while you travel can offer different experiences and alternative perspectives. Practicing yoga when you travel can encourage growth, celebrate our uniqueness and allow that positive energy to flow around the world.
Bon Voyage! Have a Great Trip! And don't forget your yoga mat! 😉
Mantras and chanting have been an integral part of the practice of yoga since the tradition began thousands of years ago. This practice is a key component of Bhakti Yoga, the yoga of devotion. Chants or mantras are inspiring and evocative for those they resonate with, but they may exclude some yogis of different religions or non-religion. In the spirit of inclusion, here are some traditional chants that don’t necessarily refer to specific deities:
Om shanti shanti shanti
This Sanskrit mantra means “peace,” a uniting idea that aligns with most philosophies, ideologies, and religious beliefs. It may be used as a personal or global intention at the beginning, middle, or end of yoga practice.
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
This translates to “may all beings be happy and free.” It is a powerful mantra/chant to perform at the end of practice when we may want clarity, a balanced mind/spirit, and peace upon other beings. One can follow up by setting a concrete intention to go out into the world and share the energy that’s been cultivated our yoga practice.
Om mani padme hum
One of the many interpretations of this chant is “the jewel is in the lotus,” which represents a yogi’s path to enlightenment. Much as one could peel back the hundreds of petals of a lotus flower to reach its center, as we peel away the layers of our identity (job titles, gender, wife, daughter, sister, husband, son, etc.), we discover the jewel within: our true self that has no identity.
Lam vam ram yam ham om
These sounds represent the 7 chakras. There are 7 major energy centers (aka chakras) in the human body. They run from the base of the spine to the crown of the head. In Sanskrit, chakra translates into “wheel”. These “wheels” can be thought of as vortexes that both receive & radiate energy. Emotions, physical health, & mental clarity affect how well each chakra can filter energy. This in turn dictates how pure the energy is that’s emitted from different parts of the body.
Lam: Survival (root chakra)
Vam: Pleasure (sacral chakra)
Ram: Self-Esteem (solar plexus chakra)
Yam: Love (heart chakra)
Ham: Communication (throat chakra)
Om: Wisdom and intuition (third eye chakra)
Silence: Enlightenment (crown chakra)
All six seed sounds may be chanted in sequence, or may be chanted repeatedly alone.
The Opening Ashtanga Mantra (which I use in my Ashtanga practice) is a blessing of gratitude offered to the lineage of teachers and their students who have enabled this ancient practice to survive through thousands of years so that we can experience its benefits today. The recitation of this mantra is believed to cleanse the energy of the space we have chosen to practice yoga, as well as preparing the mind, body and emotions for the forthcoming Ashtanga sequence.
Vande Gurunam Charanaravinde
Sandarshita Svatma Sukava Bodhe
Nih Sreyase Jangalikayamane
Samsara Halahala Mohashantyai
Sahasra Sirasam Svetam
I bow to the lotus feet of the Supreme Guru
which awaken insight into the happiness of pure Being,
which are the refuge, the jungle physician,
which eliminate the delusion caused by the poisonous herb of Samsara (conditioned existence).
I prostrate before the sage Patanjali
who has thousands of radiant, white heads (as the divine serpent, Ananta)
and who has, as far as his arms, assumed the form of a man
holding a conch shell (divine sound), a wheel (discus of light or infinite time) and a sword (discrimination).
There is no real implied deity here, but unlike many other chants, this one can be directed to a yogi’s deity of choice. Non-religious yogis may direct this chant to The Universe or even to their own intuition.
Try some of these chants in your next yoga practice. They can serve as a powerful way to bring clarity, focus and attention to the present moment.
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